Kuwaiti security agencies during an inspection targeting illegal foreign residents. Image Credit: Source: Al Rai newspaper

Cairo: Kuwait has initiated a massive security clampdown on illegal foreign residents after a three-month amnesty deadline expired this week.

Some 450 violators of the country’s residency rules were arrested in campaigns mounted in the six governorates of Kuwait Monday at dawn, shortly after the deadline ended, Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai reported.

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The crackdown will be followed by further large-scale security campaigns targeting illegal residents, who failed to make use of the amnesty offered by authorities.

The arrested illegals were bussed to an accommodation centre and are to be questioned over the persons who sheltered and employed them.

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The residency violators will be deported from Kuwait in four days in coordination with the respective embassies of their countries after travel documents are issued for those among them who carry no passports.

Deportees can’t enter other GCC countries for 5 years

They will also be banned from re-entering Kuwait for life and entry to other GCC countries for five years, Al Rai said.

For its part, the Kuwaiti Interior Ministry said it will go ahead with inspection campaigns nationwide.

The ministry urged members of the public to avoid harbouring violators lest they become liable to penalties, and to cooperate in reporting them to authorities via the emergency phone No 112.

Kuwait extended until June 30 the deadline unveiled in March allowing illegal expatriates to readjust their residency or leave willingly the country. The deadline was originally set to end on June 17.

There are no official figures available on how many expats made use of the grace period.

The amnesty, which took effect on March 17, allowed the irregular expatriate who has a passport to leave Kuwait without having to pay a fine with the possibility of re-entry.

The unlawful resident, who has no travel document, could get a new one issued and use it for departure. Kuwait has an overall population of 4.8 million people including around 3.3 million foreigners. The country is endeavouring to redress its population imbalance and replace foreign workers with its citizens as part of an employment policy dubbed “Kuwaitisation”.

Kuwaiti individuals or companies employing illegals face charges of unlawfully sheltering and covering up illegals. Last year, Kuwait deported record 42,000 expatriates for violating its residency and labour laws as well as for involvement in crimes.